What is M.E.?

Picture of a stethoscope and tablets

M.E. stands for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which means an illness which affects the brain, the muscles and the nervous system.

Unfortunately, since 1986 the term CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) has been widely used in place of M.E. and so there is considerable confusion about the name of the illness. In the United States is it also known as PVFS (Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome) or CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficient Syndrome). In this country the 'official' term is CFS/M.E., though it must be borne in mind that this may include people with a variety of unexplained fatigue illnesses as well as those who are severely affected by full-blown M.E.

What are the Symptoms?

People with M.E./CFS are much more than just tired. It is a long term illness with many disturbing and painful symptoms, including:

  • post-exertional fatigue with loss of physical and mental stamina, made worse by minimal physical or mental activity, and not improved by rest
  • substantial impairment in short-term memory and concentration
  • unrefreshing sleep and insomnia
  • muscle and joint pain
  • recurrent sore throat and flu-like symptoms
  • dizziness and weakness on standing
  • poor body temperature control
  • sensitivity to light, noise, smells, chemicals and alcohol

For an extensive list of symptoms see Dr. Jay Goldstein's Symptom Checklist.

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